Graffiti is a terrible nuisance. At best it is an unsightly inconvenience, and sometimes it is vulgar or even threatening. Getting rid of spray painted vandalism is no walk in the park, and doing so can do serious damage to surfaces like brick and stucco. However, with the proper technique, experts can remove graffiti with power washing at little inconvenience to you.
Can You Power Wash Graffiti?
There are many ways to remove graffiti, including graffiti-removal chemicals designed to clean surfaces with relatively little elbow grease. Pressure washing is another common technique. The intense pressure behind a good pressure wash is sometimes enough to strip painted graffiti off of surfaces. This is good news if the surface being cleaned reacts adversely to harsh chemicals. That being said, sometimes high-velocity water is not enough to clear tags away.
Some Like It Hot
The right technique for removing graffiti depends on many factors, including the kind of surface that has been tagged and how long the graffiti has been allowed to sit. If the paint has settled into the surface for more than just a few days, water pressure alone may not be enough to get rid of it.
The difference between pressure washing and power washing is one of water temperature. Power washing takes things up a notch temperature-wise. This is good news when you need to remove graffiti with power washing because hot water has about 100 times more energy than a cold water pressure cleaner. Hot water will remove 100% of a graffiti tag about 98% of the time.
A Key Ingredient
The real key when you need to remove graffiti with power washing is in the chemicals used, though this cocktail must be perfect so as not to damage the surface being cleaned. Chemicals will either work to make the paint fade or, more successfully, destroy the glue within the spray paint. The right chemical solution combined with hot water will leave your surfaces spray paint-free again.
How to Remove Graffiti with Power Washing
The process to remove graffiti with power washing has two imperative parts: applying the chemicals and rinsing. The first step is to add the chemicals without pushing the paint deeper into the surface. When done correctly, this step allows the chemicals to work without making the process more difficult. Using the pressure washer, coat the graffitied spot with the cleaning solution using hot water and low pressure. We recommend pressure settings around 80 psi.
After giving the cleaning chemicals some time to do their work, rinse the surface at high pressure, eliminating the paint from the wall. You may need a bit of extra help with a turbo nozzle, which gives an extra kick in the cleaning process. Be careful not to blast away the remaining graffiti shadow, though. This rookie mistake to purge all remnants of the unwanted art can damage the wall in a way that is more difficult to undo than graffiti.
Can You Power Wash Graffiti off of Brick?
Be cautious if you plan to remove graffiti with power washing from brick surfaces. The textured surface, with its little holes and crevices, doesn’t always respond well to the chemicals involved. An expert eye may recommend pressure washing instead. Always get a professional opinion before taking a power washer to a brick surface.
Will a Power Washer Remove Spray Paint from a Car or Other Metal Surfaces?
In some situations, a pressure washer is powerful enough to strip paint off of metal. The success of the project will depend on the nozzle type, how the surface was painted, and the age of the paint. Paint applied more recently can be more difficult to remove from metal surfaces while pressure washing old flaking paint off of vehicles is common practice.
Again, it is wise to get a professional opinion before trying to pressure- or power wash a metal surface. Depending on the metal in question and the kind of pressure settings being used, you could end up warping the metal during the cleaning process. The end result of pressure washing metal is usually not pretty since the process tends to destroy the finish.
Will a Power Washer Remove Spray Paint from Concrete?
Power washing can be a powerful tool for removing graffiti or other spray paint from concrete sidewalks and driveways. Here too we recommend a professional eye, since if the process is done incorrectly, you can drive the paint deeper into concrete’s porous surface or even cut into it. A professional will know the right angles and fanning techniques to properly remove graffiti with power washing.